and embellishments by which human society seeks to
justify its conventions.
May 3. I get intolerant and contemptuous about
the officers on board and all that they represent.
While I'm sitting in a corner reading Tolstoy (how
priggish it sounds!) they come straddling in to sprawl
on wicker chairs and padded seats—their faces crim-
son from over-drinking. Fortunately the fact that the
Western Front is two thousand miles nearer Picca-
dilly Circus than Palestine seerns to console them.
But one gets an occasional glimpse of disquiet in the
emergence of a haunted look or a bitter, uneasy
laugh. Haunted by secret fear of what awaits them
in France (plus the chance of rny Submarined ticket
winning the "selling sweep") they are to be pitied.
But the pity needs to be vast, to encompass them all.
No little human patronizing pity, like mine, is any
I too am tortured, but I begin to see that the War
has re-made me and done away with a lot of my ideas
that were no good. So I am really better for it, in
spite of scowling bitterly at it.
Their trouble is that they can't understand why
they are being made miserable by deprivation of
everything in life which they want. So their suffering
doesn't help them, and they hide from their despair
in drinks and oblivion. And life becomes an obscene
thing, as it is on this boat. Obscene terror invades the
overcrowded ship when those on board awake in the
morning and remember their present peril.^And I
wonder how many of these officers are facing the
future undaunted? I mean the young ones—not the
middle-aged, who will be mostly safe when once
ashore. I believe that there is submerged horror in
their souls. They cannot think; they dare not think it